As the fourth spell of monsoon rains this year lashed Sindh and created chaos in urban areas for the second day, at least seven people were electrocuted to death while two children drowned in the provincial capital. Meanwhile, flooded roads, traffic jams and power outages continued to plague citizens in both Karachi and Hyderabad.
A man was electrocuted to death when a broken wire fell on him in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. The body was shifted to a private hospital, where the deceased was identified as Faraz Shah, 28.
Separately, an eight-year-old boy, Anas, was electrocuted while passing by an electric pole near Karachi City Court, while 20-year-old Jawad died due to current in water accumulated on the road near Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital.
Three others were electrocuted to death in separate incidents in Landhi, Model Colony and Gulshan-e-Iqbal. The deceased were identified as Qaiser, 18, Muhammad Bilal, 27, and Mansoor Haider, 30. Moreover, an unidentified man also died of electrocution in Kalakot.
Meanwhile, two children drowned to death in separate incidents. A 12-year-old boy, Taha, drowned in a stream in Bhains Colony while another child drowned in a nullah in Banaras. While Taha’s body was retrieved and shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico-legal formalities, the body of the other child had not been recovered until the filing of this report.
Separately, two donkeys were killed when broken electricity wires fell on them in Liaquatabad, while the cart driver, who was uninjured, was shifted to a safe place by passersby.
Chaos once again
The second consecutive day of heavy rains saw strong winds buffet the port city at speeds of 60 kilometres per hour before the downpour intensified in the afternoon.
Rainwater once again submerged roads in various areas of the city, while in some localities, rainwater mixed with sewage as it inundated streets and residences. Flooded roads also led to traffic jams across the city.
The areas most affected by urban flooding included Nagan Chowrangi, Liaquatabad, Azizabad, University Road, Shah Faisal Colony, Landhi and Gulshan-e-Iqbal, among others.
Power supply to many localities also continued to be disrupted amid the rainfall, with some areas, including those in Surjani Town, Malir, Korangi Shah Faisal Colony and Azeem Pura, reportedly without electricity for over 24 hours.
As many as 400 feeders tripped in the city, resulting in power outages, while K-Electric also suspended power in other areas. The previous day, power was disrupted to over 600 feeders. Incidents of transformers catching fire, falling electricity cables and other technical faults were also reported, while repair work was delayed.
According to the power utility, it was forced to deliberately suspend power to areas with water-logging and illegal connections, in an attempt to avoid incidents of electrocution.
Residents of Shah Faisal Colony resorted to protesting outside the KE office, but dispersed after KE officials assured them power would be restored.
Outages in Hyderabad
In Hyderabad too, the rain triggered the usual power outages, though Thursday’s rain, recorded at 14 millimetres (mm) was drained quickly in a rare, swift operation.
Yet Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) not only failed to maintain the power supply to domestic and commercial consumers, it also left several drainage pumping stations without electricity – despite assurances to the government that this would not happen.
Earlier in the week, HESCO CEO Abdul Razzak Chaudhry had informed the Sindh chief minister that 23 out of the Water and Sanitation Agency’s (WASA) pumping stations would be powered through two alternative feeders. But soon after the rain started on Thursday evening, the power went out, with WASA officials claiming the breakdown hit all 23 stations at the same time.
It took HESCO several hours to restore the supply to the stations one by one, with six or seven of them still without power late into Thursday night, according to deputy commissioner Fuad Ghaffar Soomro, who was supervising drainage at one such station even at 2am.
Complaints about power outages also surfaced across the city, with several protests also occurring. Though power restoration began around Thursday midnight, many localities remained without electricity until Friday afternoon.
Perhaps prompted by its earlier failure, HESCO wrote to its engineers to ensure electricity supply to WASA stations on Friday, also directing officials to address consumer complaints.
More rain expected
The Pakistan Meteorological Department predicted heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in Karachi today (Saturday), with temperature expected to go up to 35 degrees Celsius.
As much as 162.5mm of rain was recorded in Karachi on Friday, with the highest being recorded as 68.5mm at PAF Base Masroor. The recorded rainfall exceeded the PMD’s prediction of 100mm to 120mm.
Meanwhile, Hyderabad received 27mm of intermittent rain in 24 hours, while rain was also witnessed in Shaheed Benazirabad, Mirpurkhas, Badin, Sukkur and other districts.